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In May, The Legal 500 and GC Magazine added another country to the list of destinations for their exclusive Dinner with GC series, as South Korea’s elite in-house counsel came together at Mugunghwa in Seoul, for a closed-door discussion on the realities of the role.

Held in partnership with Kim & Chang, those in attendance ranged from LG to Samsung and General Motors to Chubb Life. While the industries represented were diverse, the issues faced were strikingly similar.

Labour law was a primary concern cited in the current business environment, with strikes and collective bargaining reported as issues which commonly kept counsel awake at night. But how that was dealt with varied immensely, as did the amount of responsibility assigned to the office of the general counsel.

The impact of technology presented a chance to share best practice, with the level of implementation high amongst those in attendance. Smart contracts, sophisticated e-discovery tools and a keen interest in the development of legal technology were commonly cited – with most expressing strong backing internally for investing in technology.

Legal operations was a point of discussion which drew plenty of interest, but there was little evidence of uptake in South Korea yet according to those in attendance. For those managing large legal departments, there was a sense of apprehension in being able to facilitate such a significant change – but many were keeping a close eye on how things developed in other companies and countries.

At the height of a diplomatic crisis on their doorstep, little attention was reportedly being paid to the impact of the North Korea-United States negotiations - with the consensus being that it didn’t represent a material risk to business. But there was a definite sense of optimism for how things may progress in the long-term.

The evening concluded with a toast to success for year ahead and the opportunity for further collaboration amongst the in-house community in Seoul.